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Wasteful Barca fire blanks against Lyon

Since beating Arsenal at the Emirates in May 2016, Barcelona, surprising as it may sound, have been winless in away European knockout ties. Tuesday evening at the Groupama Stadium made it six away CL KO games (losses against PSG, Atleti, Roma and Juve; draws against Chelsea and OL) without victory for the Catalan giants as they failed to find the back of the net against Olympique Lyonnais.

Ernesto Valverde pushed Sergi Roberto into midfield and gave Nelson Semedo a start at the Groupama Stadium. Barca had 25 shots, but could not find a way past Anthony Lopes.

Luis Suarez’s goal drought away from home continued- the Uruguayan has now gone over 1500 minutes without an away European, and his poor performance is reflected in these player ratings from Mundo Deportivo. He was also the lowest ranked Barca player in the French media, getting just a four from L’Equipe. Suarez’s last away goal in Europe came in September 2015 against Roma.

Like L’Equipe, MD also thought Barca’s best player on the evening was Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

Fans will still expect the Catalans to progress at home in three weeks’ time. Barca have won three of the last four European KO ties which they drew in the first leg, and should be expected to complete the job against Bruno Genesio’s men at the Nou Camp.

Mundo Ratings Lyon Barcelona

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Huesca 0-1 Athletic | New Consecutive league appearance record for Inaki Williams

Huesca 0-1 Athletic Bilbao on 18 February, 2019 (Raul Garcia pen)

Played in front of 6,729 spectators at Estadio El Alcoraz.

Athletic continued their revival under Gaizka Gaitano with a 1-0 win over Huesca on Monday night that took the Basque outfit to 11th in the La Liga table. The win was secured thanks to Raul Garcia’s 19th minute penalty and now means that Bilbao have lost only one game in 11 since Gaitano took over the reigns of the club.

The victory also saw Inaki Williams create a club record for most consecutive appearances by an outfield player. With his appearance against Huesca, Williams has now played the last 105 league games for the club, overtaking the previous record of 104 held by Ezequiel Garay.

Under Gaitano, Athletic have now won five, drawn four, and lost just once in the league since he arrived at San Mames in December. Only the big three of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have taken more points since then.

Gaitano also has the third best start for an Athletic manager in La Liga. He went 7 games without defeat before Sociedad won earlier this month- the other two ahead of him are Frederick Pentland (18) and Ferdinand Daucik (8)

Relegation was a definite possibility for Athletic Club when Garitano arrived, but they seem to have staved off that danger for now. Some would even say Europe is not an impossibility given the way the club are playing.

Garitano Athletic

Players from Athletic and Huesca were not considered for La Liga’s team of the week for Round 24 because theirs was played on Monday, but you can check out the XI here.

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Round 24 La Liga Team of the Week | February 2019

Real Madrid’s slim title hopes took a huge blow as they were beaten at home by Girona. Real’s loss at the Bernabeu allowed cross town rivals Atleti to leapfrog them into second following the latter’s 1-0 win away at Rayo Vallecano.

Charles’ double for Eibar that saw Los Armeros come from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with high flying Getafe earns him a spot in the Team of the Week. It also does so for Mikel Oyarzabal, with Sociedad riding on the back of a brace from the 21 year old to beat Leganes 3-0. Los Txuri Urdin are in some form this year, and are yet to be beaten in 2019.

La Liga Team of the Week: Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Maripan (Alaves), Pique (Barcelona), Sala (Sociedad), Pedraza (Villarreal), Rochina (Levante), Maripan (Levante), Douglas Luiz (Girona), Portu (Girona), Charles (Eibar), Oyarzabal (Sociedad)

La Liga Team of the Week Round 24 February 2019 Continue reading “Round 24 La Liga Team of the Week | February 2019”

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La Liga Team of the Week for Round 12- 2018-19 season

This was a rare week in La Liga- a round in which Messi scored two goals for Barcelona, but still ended up on the losing side (it’s NEVER happened in Barca’s history before). Betis also became the first team to score four at the Nou Camp against the Catalan giants since Deportivo in 2003.

Marc Ander Ter Stegen became the most capped German goalkeeper in La Liga in this round, surpassing the previous record of 91 set by Bodo Illgner.

La Liga Team of the Week 2018-19 GW 12:- Masip (Valladolid); Mercado (Sevilla), Theo Hernandez (Sociedad), Junior Firpo (Betis); Brais Mendez (Celta), Thomas Partey (Atletico), Dani Parejo (Valencia), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Rodrigo (Atleti), Messi (Barcelona), Inaki Williams (Bilbao)

There is no Real Madrid player in this week’s TOTW despite Santiago Solari’s men beating Celta 4-2. The most number of players come from Atleti and Sevilla (2 each), while Valladolid, Sociedad, Betis, Celta, Valencia, Barca and Bilbao all have one representative each.

La Liga Team of the Week Round 12 2018-19

La Liga results Round 12 2018/19 season Continue reading “La Liga Team of the Week for Round 12- 2018-19 season”

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Paco Alcacer gives Dortmund Der Klassiker win against Bayern

He may have been left out of Luis Enrique’s Spanish side for the November internationals, but Paco Alcacer has been in SOME form for Dortmund this season and continued his fantastic run with the winning goal for BVB in their Klassiker game against Bayern over the weekend. Alcacer’s 73rd minute goal separated the two sides at the final whistle and gave BVB a seven point lead over Bayern. This is a result that could have a big impact on the title race in Germany- Bayern have never won the BuLi from a seven point deficit over the leaders at this stage of the season.

The goal was Alcacer’s 8th for Dortmund this season, and he’s a big reason for their rather unique stat of having the most goals scored by substitutes in Europe so far (18 across all competitions Continue reading “Paco Alcacer gives Dortmund Der Klassiker win against Bayern”

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Spanish players named in Champions League & Europa League Team of the Week- MD4 2018-19 season

Here is how Spanish teams fared in Europe in midweek in their respective Champions League and Europa League clashes. Also check out which club’s players made it to the CL and EL Teams of the Week,

Champions League (3 Wins, One Draw)

Inter 1-1 Barcelona
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Dortmund
Viktoria Plzen 0-5 Real Madrid
Valencia 3-1 Young Boys

Europa League (1 Win, 2 Draws)

Akhisarspor 2-3 Sevilla
Rapid Vienna 0-0 Villarreal
Real Betis 1-1 Milan

As you can see, NO Spanish team lost in their Round 4 CL and EL clashes this week. Everyone bar Villarreal in Austria against Rapid also scored. The strongest results were perhaps Atleti’s 2-0 win over Dortmund (after having being beaten 4-0 in the previous round in Germany) and Betis’ draw at home against Milan.

Champions League Team of the Week MD4 18/19: Horvath, Filipe Luis, Manolas, Bernat, Mahrez, Vanaken, Kroos, Soler, Benzema, Lewandowski, Jesus Continue reading “Spanish players named in Champions League & Europa League Team of the Week- MD4 2018-19 season”

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Spain Roster for November 2018 Internationals | Jordi Alba returns, Marcos Alonso & Paco Alcacer dropped from squad

True to his word, Spain coach Luis Enrique has sprung a few surprises for his third squad, announced today (November 8, 2018). There is a return for Barcelona left back Jordi Alba who was left out of Enrique’s first two squads ( presumably for personal reasons- the two did not get on when Enrique was Barca coach)

Who has Enrique left out of the Spain squad for November 2018?

Notable omissions from Enrique’s squad include Marcos Alonso, Paco Alcacer, Marc Bartra, Nacho and Raul Albiol. Thiago and Koke also miss out due to injury. Alcacer in particular is a tad surprising given his goal scoring record this season for Dortmund.

Who are the new names in Spain’s squad?

The notable new names in Enrique’s list are Espanyol’s Mario Hermoso, Villarreal’s Pablo Fornals and Celta’s Brais Mendez. Continue reading “Spain Roster for November 2018 Internationals | Jordi Alba returns, Marcos Alonso & Paco Alcacer dropped from squad”

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La Liga Team of the Week (Round 11)- 2018-19 season

Here is La Liga’s Team of the Week for Round 11, as named by Spanish newspaper Marca. Real Betis are the only team to have more than one player, with two representatives in the XI in the form of left back Junior Firpo and attacking midfielder Sergio Canales.

La Liga TOTW MD11:- Bono (Girona), Junior (Betis), Ramos (Real Madrid), Savic (Atletico Madrid), Ruben Pena (Eibar), Campana (Levante), Oscar Rodriguez (Leganes), Alcaraz (Valladolid), Canales (Betis), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Maxi Gomez (Celta)

Week 11 was a “draw” weekend in La Liga, with as many as half of the fixtures ending in draws. The highest scoring game was the 3-3 one between Betis and Celta. Only one game didn’t produce a goal- the stalemate between Sociedad and Sevilla at the Anoeta.

La Liga Results Week 11 18/19 season

Leganes 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid 2-0 Real Valladolid
Valencia 0-1 Girona Continue reading “La Liga Team of the Week (Round 11)- 2018-19 season”

Spanish giants interested in Liverpool defender

Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno is a target for both Real Madrid and Barcelona according to reports in England. The left back’s contract expires at the end of the current season and with Andy Robertson being Jurgen Klopp’s first choice LB, opportunities have been limited for the 26 year old.

Barcelona, who have been linked with several Liverpool players this season (also reportedly after Firmino), want Moreno as a potential back up for Jordi Alba, having sold French international Lucas Digne to Everton last season.

Moreno at Real would seem like overkill for Los Blancos, who already have Marcelo and should have the services of Theo Hernandez available next season after the latter returns from his loan spell.

Another link, which would appeal to Moreno if he decides to stay in England, is Arsenal. Current Gunners boss Unai Emery has worked with the defender before at Sevilla, and is mulling making a move for his compatriot.